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Parson signs ‘border wars’ bill restricting tax incentives for certain businesses moving across state lines

From Kansas City Tuesday, Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill eliminating tax incentives for businesses relocating to Missouri from certain counties in Kansas — a measure with bipartisan support from the governors of both states. 

Championed in the General Assembly by Sen. Mike Cierpiot, the legislation removes certain tax credits from businesses located in “border counties” that move across state lines to specific places in Missouri — dependant on actions taken by Kansas.

 In Kansas, the counties impacted are: Johnson, Miami, and Wyandotte. In Missouri, those counties are: Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte.

“We want to work together with our peers in Kansas to support the growth of the entire Kansas City region,” Parson said in a statement. “Incentivizing companies to move a few miles doesn’t result in new jobs for the citizens of Kansas or Missouri, and it takes state resources away from other priorities that would result in true growth for the state.”

The Republican governor held the ceremonial signing of the bill Tuesday morning at the centenarian Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri.

“This is a good step towards making sure our economic development dollars go towards areas that are truly growing the economy,” Cierpiot told The Missouri Times of Parson signing his SB 182.

Rep. Jack Bondon, co-chairman of the Kansas City Caucus, said he believes the new law will “protect” taxpayers in both Kansas and Missouri from “businesses taking advantage of our incentive programs.” He estimated it will save Missouri more than $30 million per year.

“Often in Jefferson City, we struggle with the issue of the government’s role and economic development,” Bondon told The Missouri Times. “However, when we have a decade of analysis that shows no gains for the folks, we must say, ‘enough is enough.’” 

“For years, Kansas and Missouri have irresponsibly spent economic development resources luring jobs back and forth across the border with little actual job growth for either state,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, told The Missouri Times in a statement. “We’re encouraged by the renewed spirit of cooperation and collaboration between the two states.”

“We need to work together, and not be at odds, when it comes to bringing businesses to the region.”

“We need to work together, and not be at odds, when it comes to bringing businesses to the region,” she said.

Similar prohibitions of these incentives existed before but expired in August 2016. 

Earlier Tuesday, Parson signed HB 821, which establishes a land bank agency for St. Joseph to manage, sell, or transfer delinquent properties in the city. The move is an effort to restore those properties — through tax auctions or donations — to be renovated by private entities or used by the public.

“Land banks are a proven approach for the rehabilitation of neglected urban areas,” Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer said in a statement. “The St. Joseph community is committed to addressing blight, and the land bank will encourage infusions of capital and a new spirit of enterprise to this proud, historic community, while also reducing crime.”